Dan Naden

Coffee Bean: Readying for a Starbucks Fight

I love to see new brick and mortar businesses start.

I get a charge out of seeing businesses do their best to acquire first-time customers and create in-store experiences that keep them coming back a second time.

I also love it when companies put up a fight.

You have to be crazy to compete against Starbucks, right? Starbucks (the Goliath), with over 20,000 stores worldwide, is one of the most recognizable brands. Drinking Starbucks coffee has become as common as brushing one’s teeth in the morning. It takes incredible fortitude and vision to build a 3rd place (after home and work), but Starbucks has done it.

Starbucks may bring the noise, but Coffee Bean may bring the experience.
Starbucks may bring the noise, but Coffee Bean may bring the experience.

Enter David: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

If there was ever a quantity vs. quality feel between competitors, this is exhibit A.

I vaguely recall seeing Coffee Bean stores in shopping malls in the late 70s/early 80s. These were the days when coffee wasn’t the social phenomenon it is today; Folgers’ industrial blend in the metallic can was considered gourmet.

Surprisingly, Coffee Bean actually was around 8 years prior to Starbucks. Starbucks was founded in 1971; Coffee Bean had arrived in 1963. While Starbucks’ rise has been meteoric in scope and scale, Coffee Bean’s slow, steady growth took plenty of persistence and dedication.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, headquartered in LA with 900 stores strong, has been ramping up its presence in the Austin, Texas market over the past few years.

I can’t say that I’ll never step foot in a Starbucks again, but a recent experience at a freshly-opened Coffee Bean store in Austin, Texas made me think that Starbucks should put their dukes up; it’s time for a fight.

Thankfully, I’ve secured my ringside seat for this battle.

So what did Coffee Bean do that made me a raving fan?

Stay tuned next time where I share the secrets that made an ordinary coffee experience at Coffee Bean, an extraordinary one.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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